Whitsun and Jubilee


So the hot weather continues into another week! I’ve been thrown a bit this week with the government pushing the Bank Holiday back a week away from the last Monday in May to the First in June to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Of course that also meant shifting it from what was traditionally “Whitsuntide” or Pentecost to a date a week later.

2012 Pentecost Sunday Sunset in Parson Cross

Now “Whitsuntide” (also Whit Sunday or Whit) is the name traditionally used in the UK for the Christian festival of Pentecost the seventh Sunday after Easter, which commemorates the the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Christian Church. Older people might even remember the Whit walks and Whit sings with children dressed in new holiday clothes, the girls usually in white – as they would walk around the area singing and celebrating. Here’s some comments made by people who remember them (from Sheffield Forum)

“Whitsuntide used to be the best holiday of the year i was in the Boys Brigade at Firth Park and we used to march most Sundays but you always looked forward to Whitsuntide when you could really show trying to better all the other Brigades marching to and playing in Firth Park with all the families watching.”

“Loved it. the whole community were out in force. everyone seemed happy to be alive.”

“For my family who weren’t serious “church goers” it was a tradition which they embarked upon each year, they may not have known the origin but, it was a time of Spring and particularly in the 1950’s it was a time of hope and new beginnings. We lived in heavy smogs all Winter and the act of wearing new clean clothing and enjoying the sun in the park was as much a part of our lives as Christmas even though we may not have understood the religion behind it all.”

It’s funny how things change over time – these memories of Whitsun (some no later than the 1970’s) now seem like another age – and whether we are glad to see the back of those years, or whether we remember them with gladness, they are gone and new things come to take their place, time as they say “waits for no one”. And so it is that this year 2012 the shops are now filled with memorabilia, and merchandise that commemorates Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee – and next week we all get a day off to mark the event (unless of course you’re working – another change from relatively recent past when it seemed very few apart from the emergency services worked on a Bank Holiday), there are we are told hundreds of celebrations and street parties being held – whether you’re  a loyal royal or not lets hope there’s a real celebration of community.

Now in Biblical terms, Jubilee year (Hebrew yovel יובל) is the year at the end of seven, seven year cycles, and at that time land that had been bought and sold would go back to the ownership of the original community, slaves freed and things returned to God rather than those who had simply to money to buy…. time really does change some things. If anyone is interested on Sunday 3rd June, from 12noon, PXI and a few of the local churches are planning a picnic in the park. Bring yourselves, some food to share if you can (no alcohol please) and we’ll enjoy an afternoon in the some and may some football, cricket, rounders to finish.

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